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Derby Interfleet graduates win IMechE Railway Challenge

03 July 2012

A group of graduate engineers from Interfleet Technology’s Derby office has won the inaugural Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE's) ‘Railway Challenge’ at Stapleford Miniature Railway near Melton Mowbray. Last Sunday (July 1) saw four student and apprentice teams compete against each other to design and manufacture the best, and most efficient small-scale locomotive.

Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and one of the Railway Challenge scrutineers said: “This was an extremely challenging competition where teams had to prepare a business case, finance, design, and build a locomotive from scratch. It was hugely impressive to see the ingenious work of all four teams in making it to the competition, but Interfleet were deserving winners. The Interfleet locomotive was the most reliable on the day, and it was the most effective locomotive at storing energy – one of the key parts of the competition.”

A central part of the competition was the Energy Challenge where the locomotive had to store energy during braking and use it to drive the locomotive up a gradient.

Stephen Head, the team’s Project Manager said: “We’re delighted with our win, and it has made the hundreds of man-hours spent designing, building, commissioning and testing the railway locomotive really worthwhile. Few people have the opportunity to design and build a locomotive this early in their careers and the first-hand experience we’ve gained is hugely valuable.”

Apart from the Energy Challenge, there were two other practical challenges focusing on traction and ride comfort. Teams were also required to make a technical submission and prepare a business case.

The four teams taking part in this year’s event were: Interfleet Technology (first place), Manchester Metropolitan University (second place), Birmingham University (third place) and an independent team of apprentices/graduates from Derby (fourth place).


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